Evaluating Sources: SPACE or SOAPS

Students older than ninth grade can evaluate the sources that they are using for a research paper such as the Primary Sources Paper (our famous PSP) by considering the following criteria used by Jennifer Goen at H-B. (Students using Noodletools for organizing the many pieces of their project can use the “sources” screen and edit each citation to write an “annotation.” Just comment on each SOAPS criteria there.)

S.P.A.C.E:

(Use this criteria 2021 onward for the PSP.)

Speaker– Who created the source?  (news company vs. author) What do you know about the author or creator of the source? What is the author’s point of view? (Bias? Agenda?)

Purpose-  What point is the source trying to convey? (Thesis?)

Audience- For whom was the source created and how might this affect the reliability of the source?

Context– Where and when was the source produced?  How might this affect the meaning of the source? What’s the historical context?

Exigence– Why was this source produced at that time and how might this affect the reliability of the source? (Is it trying to persuade, educate, advocate, argue a political point, sell?)

 

 


S.O.A.P.S.

(Students use the following criteria prior to 2021 for their PSP; it is still used by other students.)

  • SPEAKER- Who created the source?  What do you know about the author or creator of the source? What is the author’s point of view? Bias? Agenda?
  • OCCASION- Where and when was the source produced?  How might this affect the meaning of the source? What’s the historical context?
  • AUDIENCE – For whom was the source created and how might this affect the reliability of the source?
  • PURPOSE –  What point is the source trying to convey?
  • SIGNIFICANCE- Why is the source important?  Ask yourself, “So what?” in relation to the question asked. If you have begun to formulate a thesis, then how does this source connect with your prior thinking? Or if it contradicts, how does this opposition play into your argument? Why was this source produced and how might this affect the reliability of the source?

 

 

Using SPACE or SOAPS builds upon study in previous research projects at H-B.  Consult the guidance provided at CARRDSS and MS Annotated Bibliography for NHD to review the kinds of questions one uses to examine sources for bias, relevance, scope and purpose.